Puerto Princesa City, the capital of Palawan, is one of the most popular tourist cities in the Philippines. Best known for its beach resorts, stunning lagoons and the Underground River, Palawan is also a great place for foodies. Though you can now find malls with fast-food joints and international cuisine in Puerto Princesa, nothing beats sampling the homegrown cafes, feasting on fresh seafood, and trying out the unique eats the province has to offer. For first-time visitors, here are some of the must-eats to put on your foodie bucket-list in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Tamilok is an exotic delicacy you can find in Palawan and Aklan. Also known as woodworm or shipworm, tamilok is not a worm but rather a mollusk that lives in mangrove areas. It’s often sold and served kinilaw-style in tourist areas.
Most people feel squeamish just looking at this, but tamilok actually tastes pretty good. Kind of like creamy oysters, with a slimier texture and saltier flavor. If you like fresh oysters, you’ll definitely like this. Some restaurants also serve this exotic delicacy.
Kinabuch’s Grill & Bar
When you think of where to eat in Puerto Princesa, Kinabuch’s Grill & Bar is one of the first restaurants both foreigners and tourists recommend. This laid-back sports bar has open air dining, pool tables and live music, making it a chill hangout. Kinabuch’s serves Filipino favorites like Crispy Pata, grilled pusit and gising-gising.
It’s also one of the restaurants where you can order tamilok served either classic-style or deep-fried and breaded. It can get crowded during peak dining hours, but the food is worth the wait. Kinabuch’s Grill & Bar. Rizal Ave, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Open daily 5:00 pm – 1:00 am.
Another very popular restaurant in Puerto Princesa is Ka Lui, a native restaurant that showcases beautiful Palawan artwork and serves meals based on the fresh catch of the day. The artistic restaurant highlights Palawan’s seafood specialties like blue marlin, tuna, sashimi, crabs, lobster and shrimps as well as fresh fruit shakes infused with local ingredients.
Meals can be a bit on the pricey side since they cater mostly to tourists, but visitors will definitely enjoy the barefoot dining experience and beautiful artwork all around. Ka Lui Restaurant. 369 Rizal Avenue, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Open daily except for Sundays. Lunch 11:00 – 2:00 pm; Dinner 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm. Better by reservation.
Badjao Seafront Restaurant
It may not be located along the main road, but Badjao Seafront Restaurant is definitely worth seeking out. This restaurant built on stilts over a mangrove area offers a stunning view of Puerto Princesa’s seascape especially during sunset. Like other top restos in the city, Badjao Seafront Restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and grilled specialties.
For a filling meal, order the seafood platter good for sharing for 2-3 persons. Badjao Seafront Restaurant. Abueg Road, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Open daily, 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
Viet Ville Restaurant
Since Palawan used to have a large Vietnamese community, their local food was influenced a bit by Vietnamese cuisine. Chao long, a local version of the Vietnamese beef stew noodles or pho is considered one of the “must-eats” in Palawan. While there are several eateries specializing in chao long in the city like Bona’s Chao long, Lou’s and Rene Saigon, Viet Ville Restaurant, located just 5 kilometers away from the city center offers one of the best tasting authentic chao long served with a plate of basil leaves, bean sprouts and chili paste and garlic French Bread.
Viet Ville. Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Open daily from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm.
Ka Inato Restaurant
Ka Inato is a native restaurant that specializes in chicken inato (a version of inasal) and other Filipino dishes like sinigang, inihaw, grilled squid and crocodile sisig. The restaurant has very artistic interiors and is decorated with colorful wooden sculptures and carvings that Palawan is known for.
Interestingly, Ka Inato provides livelihood to PWDs, since some waiters and servers are hearing impaired. Customers are encouraged to use sign language when ordering. Good vibes all around in terms of food and ambiance.
Ka Inato Restaurant. C4 Compound, San Manuel, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Open daily from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm.
Namaskar Vegetarian Cafe
For vegetarians and vegans looking for healthy food, Namaskar Vegetarian Cafe offers a welcome alternative. This hole-in-the-wall cafe serves tasty and very affordable vegetarian food including vegetarian chao long, spring rolls, veggie kebabs, raw salad, vegetarian salmon and refreshing fruit shakes.
Namaskar Vegetarian Cafe. 75-P Burgos St, Puerto Princesa, Palawan Island 5300. Open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Señordamla Restaurant at Microtel Puerto Princesa
Microtel Puerto Princesa is the only beachfront hotel in Puerto Princesa city, giving guests picturesque views of white sand shores and mangrove forests. Even guests who aren’t checked-in at the hotel can enjoy meals at their in-house restaurant Señordamla located right next to the pool, which serves specialties like lechon kawali, chicken adobo, gising-gising and seafood dishes. By special request, hotel staff can set-up dining tables right by the beach under the trees for romantic dinners.
Señordamla Restaurant at Microtel Puerto Princesa. Emerald Beach, San Jose, Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Veranda Restaurant by Skylight Hotel
If you’re in a large group, one of the best places you dine in Puerto Princesa City is Skylight Hotel’s Veranda restaurant, which serves Oriental and International cuisine. The restaurant’s bestseller is their Pork and Chicken Barbeque, which comes at a very affordable price of P130 with unlimited rice and drinks.
Bestsellers include the Aligue Rice (with aligue paste and lato or seaweed in rice), tropical salad (Mixed fruits with Lato in Coconut shell), Mixed Seafoods Sinigang (featuring seafood of Palawan – Crab, Fish and Squid), Slipper Lobster, Butter Garlic Crabs, Pineapple shrimp (Pineapple fruit w/ Shrimp) and Garlic Squid Adobo.
Veranda Restaurant by Skylight Hotel. 210-A Rizal Ave, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan. Open daily from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm.
McCoy’s Pizza House
For those craving non-seafood comfort food, McCoy’s Pizza House is considered the best pizzeria in Puerto Princesa City. This fast food joint that’s popular with locals, serves brick-oven pizza, pasta, oven-roasted chicken, mojos and steak and more. Because of the resto’s location near the airport, McCoy’s Pizza House is a good stop for a heavy snack or light dinner before your flight back home.
McCoys Pizza House. 20 National Highway San Miguel Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. Open from 8:00 am – 10:00 pm.
If you’re a beer-lover, you’ll definitely want to pass by Palaweño Brewery, the first and currently the only craft beer brewery in Palawan. They serve a line-up of craft beers named “Ayahay,” a local slang term for chill or relax.
Palaweño Brewery produces five core brews and a few seasonal brews that make use of locally sourced ingredients and flavors unique to the island, including Palawan honey, chili, mangoes, coconuts and more. This includes Ambog Ale, Palawan Wit, Honey Kolsch, Ayahay IPA and Honey Nut Brown Ale.
Palaweño Brewery. 82 Manalo Street, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines 5300. Open Monday to Saturday from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm.